Xavi Hails Mbappe Stopper Cubarsi After Teen Defender Stars in Barca’s Champions League Win vs PSG

Xavi Hails Mbappe Stopper Cubarsi After Teen Defender Stars in Barca’s Champions League Win vs PSG

Joel Reyes
April 11, 2024 at 9:32 AM
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  • Barcelona defeated Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final
  • Xavi praised teenage defender Pau Cubarsi for his excellent showing in Wednesday's contest
  • He helped the Catalan giants shut down Kylian Mbappe, who has been in fine form for PSG

La Masia has done it again.

Barcelona's famed youth academy has unearthed another gem, with teen defender Pau Cubarsi shining on the biggest stage in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

Xavi praised the youngster following their 3-2 win over Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of their quarter-final clash.

Kylian Mbappe, Xavi, Pau Cubarsi, PSG, Barcelona, UEFA Champions League, Paris Saint-Germain.
Kylian Mbappe reacts during Paris Saint-Germain’s quarter-final match against Barcelona; PSG’s Mbappe and Barca’s Pau Cubarsi battle for the ball. Images: Franco Arland/ Jose Breton.
Source: Getty Images

Xavi showers Cubarsi with praises after win

The Spanish coach hailed the teen star for his performance against the French giants, describing him as an "incredible player" and "world-class."

What impressed Xavi the most was Cubarsi's composure at such a young age, saying that it's not normal for a 17-year-old player to perform like that, per Fabrizio Romano.

He added that the La Masia product "competes like an older player" and "it’s just insane”.

Xavi's praises were backed up by stats as Cubarsi played a vital role in nullifying the great Kylian Mbappe in the first leg.

Cubarsi shuts down Mbappe in first leg

He kept the PSG forward quiet in the first-leg showdown, with the Spanish teen winning nine of his 12 duels against Mbappe, per TNT Sports.

The Frenchman managed just three shot attempts when Cubarsi was his primary defender, all of which were off-target.

Mbappe also completed just one of four dribbles against the Barca youngster, with Cubarsi masterfully tracking his runs during the match.

Youngest defenders to start in UCL quarters

Sports Brief recently reported on the youngest defenders to start in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Cubarsi broke the record on Wednesday, starting the first-leg clash against PSG at the age of 17 years and 79 days.

Georgi Shchennikov started the Champions League quarter-final against Inter, aged 18 years and 338 days, while Raphael Varane was only 18 years and 344 days when he was named a starter by Real Madrid in the last 8.

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Joel Reyes
Joel Reyes is a sports editor at Sportsbrief.com with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of the Philippines. He has eight years of work experience in sports writing.